Rivalries between Federal agencies are notorious. The Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were known for their mutual hostility. Both agencies had a tendency to poach on the other's turf even though the CIA was an overseas intelligence gathering agency and the FBI a law enforcement agency. Their paths did cross routinely though in the area of counter-intelligence and the necessity for operations against foreign intelligence agencies operating in the U.S. as well as operations against foreign diplomatic posts domestically.
And the conflict between the late unlamented U.S. Customs Service (USCS) and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) though not known to the public was always a source of conflict at Ports-of-Entry and in field operations.
Some conflicts are inherent in the missions. In the case of the CIA and FBI, there was the fact that crimes by CIA officials were sometimes investigated by the FBI. The USCS and INS had in many areas a joint mission, but different managements. USCS and INS Inspectors would do the same job on primary inspection at land POEs, at airport POEs, the would work in close proximity, wearing different uniforms and enforcing different laws that would overlap. The conflict was continuous and always aggravated by low level managers who were jealous of their different missions, always looking for an excuse to complain about the other. But generally, each agency had a mission and kept to it.
However, things are changing. U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement Special Victims Unit, this blog's facetious referral to U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the supposed investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. Facetious because ICE SVU is an agency with a mission that it does not want, the enforcement of the immigration laws of the United States. Important crimes like passport and visa fraud, immigration benefit fraud, illegal immigration, worksite enforcement, counterfeit immigration documents and alien smuggling.
Since the coming of John Morton though, ICE SVU has sought to replace the immigration enforcement mission with anything but immigration enforcement, such as sex crimes, child pornography, prostitution, bunko, and the sale of stolen goods at flea markets. But no where is it expanding more than at the expense of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the agency charged with enforcing drug laws in the United States and internationally under Title 21 of the United States Code. ICE SVU's customs authority only authorizes enforcement of drug laws as they related to drugs seized at the border or followed into the United States. Otherwise the DEA holds jurisdiction.
And it continues:
Sacramento Bee July 26, 2013 by Cathy Locke
Two Lake County residents have been charged in federal case involving a large-scale marijuana growing operations in which a 15-year-old girl allegedly was held against her will and used to process marijuana plants.
According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the girl, a runaway from Los Angeles, was sexually abused and confined at times in a metal toolbox.
Ryan Balletto and Partick Pearmain were charged Monday with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants and with using a minor in a drug operation, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. Balletto also is charged in the complaint with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
According to the complaint, in December 2011, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, began an investigation into suspected narcotics trafficking by Balletto and others.
Marijuana grown in Lake County, CA are a Title 21 violation, not a violation of Title 19, the United States Code dealing with smuggling and imports. In any event, a local agency was involved in the initial investigation.
On April 12 of this year, a Lake County sheriff's detective conducted a flyover of the property Balletto owned in the Ogulin Canyon area outside of Clear Lake and identified two greenhouses on the property that were believed to be full of marijuana plants, according to the complaint.
As authorities were preparing to apply for and execute a search warrant, they received an urgent request from the Los Angeles Police Department for help regarding the missing teenage girl who they believed was being against held her will on Balletto's Lake County property.
Deputies went to Balletto's residence, where they spoke with a woman who said she was Balletto's girlfriend and asked her about the missing juvenile and Balletto, but the deputies reported that the woman was uncooperative.
The next morning, a female called the Lake County Sheriff's Office's dispatch center, identified herself as the juvenile and told the dispatcher that she was OK. She then made a second call to the dispatch center and said she was with someone named "Ryan" in Sacramento.
Authorities determined that the call was made from a cell phone and tracked the signal to Sacramento. Later that evening, West Sacramento police officers found the 15-year-old girl at a hotel in West Sacramento and took her into custody.
It is clear that local law enforcement agencies had the investigation well in hand, as well as rescued the kidnapped girl, which, even if there was a Federal interest, which is not clear, the FBI was the Federal agency responsible for enforcing the Federal kidnapping statute, 18 USC 1201. In any event, the Federal nexus for either crime was minimal and even more egregious, local law enforcement agencies were exercising the police power of the States quite effectively.
Why was there any involvement by the Federal agency charged with customs and immigration law enforcement? Clearly because ICE SVU wants to avoid arresting the 2.5 million illegal aliens in California. Can anyone say impeachment?